Tag Archive: Dorie Greenspan

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies


I wish that I could take the credit for this recipe.  If you believed that I had dreamt this cookie batter up in our farmhouse kitchen, I might be elevated to genius status in the opinion of my readers.  Alas, I did not create this recipe.  However, I did have the good sense to rip it immediately from our copy of The Boston Globe’s Sunday Magazine almost five years ago.  That might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but I am not a morning person.  Anything that I do before I have finished my second, or perhaps third, cup of home roasted coffee is a galactic achievement.

I knew upon seeing this recipe that it would be delicious.  What I didn’t know was that it would be so addictive.  When these cookies are sitting on our kitchen counter, it is nearly impossible to pass by without reaching out to help yourself to one of them.  It goes without saying that coffee and chocolate are a winning combination, but in this recipe they are perfectly matched.  I have long thought that its creator, Dorie Greenspan, is in fact a recipe creating genius, but these cookies settled the argument for me once and for all.

So, I will happily give credit where it is so earnestly due.  I hope that you enjoy these wonderfully rich shortbread cookies as much as we do at 1840 Farm.  I know that they will be on our cookie platter this weekend.  Lucky for you, there’s still time for you to save them a space on yours.

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1840 Farm is proud to be participating in the OXO “Be a Good Cookie” campaign. We hope to do our part to raise awareness for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  You can help this fantastic organization by purchasing a “be a good cookie” limited edition spatula.

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
by Dorie Greenspan
Originally appeared in The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine on January 14, 2007

Dorie’s original recipe calls for 2 cups of All-purpose flour.  I substitute King Arthur white whole wheat flour in my version as it reduces the carbohydrate content enough to make this more diabetic friendly without sacrificing any of the delicious, delicate flavor. 

Dorie suggests placing the prepared dough in a 1 gallon plastic bag for rolling ease and measuring the dough into even 2 x 2 inch squares with a ruler before cutting.  This is a great tip if you are looking to create precisely sized cookies.  I prefer to cut freehand and roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper.  No matter which method you choose, the resulting cookies will be delicious!

   
 

1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 Tablespoon boiling hot water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (120 grams) All-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate

In a small bowl, combine espresso powder and hot water.  Mix to combine and set aside.

Using an electric mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar until it combines completely and makes a smooth paste.  Add the vanilla extract and the espresso mixture.  Mix to combine.  Add the flour and chocolate chips to the batter and mix just until combined.  Do not overwork as this will result in a dough that is tough instead of delicate.

Remove the dough to a plastic bag if you are using Dorie’s method or to a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.  Enclose the dough in the bag or cover with a second sheet of paper.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 10 inches square and 1/4 inch thick.  Refrigerate the dough at least 45 minutes or until firm enough to cut cleanly.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick liners or parchment paper.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into rectangles.  Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets approximately 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are firm to the touch.  Do not overbake.  Remove from the oven and place trays on wire racks to cool completely.

Note:  This dough works very well stored in the freezer.  Simply prepare the dough and freeze in a large freezer bag.  Remove the frozen dough and cut into squares as the oven preheats.  Frozen cookies will require an additional 3-5 minutes in the oven, but taste identical to those made from freshly made refrigerated dough.


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/12/espresso-chocolate-chip-shortbread-cookies/

Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

       

Welcome to the third French Friday of January 2011.  It has been a very good run for my family’s Bistro Night this past month.  We started off with Paris Mushroom Soup and then discovered the beauty that is Gnocchi a la Parisienne.  They were both sublime, decadent, and warming Winter dishes.  I told you it was a good run.

This  week, I find myself standing in our farmhouse kitchen preparing to make  Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake from Dorie Greenspan‘s Around my French Table.  After reading her recipe and instructions, I was ready to enjoy the rich chocolate mousse perched atop a bed of dense chocolate cake.  I was in.

I started to gather my ingredients and equipment.  The oven was preheating and I was starting to envision how great this cake was going to taste after dinner.  There was only one problem.  My two children were staring out the window at the latest Winter snowstorm.  They were starting to envision an afternoon of sledding.  I knew that I had to get this dessert started and get outside onto our snow pile which has become more of a snow mountain.  Chocolate mousse cake is tempting, but the green snow saucer waits for no one.

This recipe starts with coffee, so it had me at espresso.  Anything with coffee has my attention.  To be fair, the recipe states that either espresso or strong coffee can be used, but I took the opportunity to make two shots of espresso and finish off the portion that wasn’t needed for the cake.

Within the first few minutes, the kitchen was infused with the welcome aroma of coffee and chocolate.  In my opinion, there are few food marriages any sweeter than chocolate and coffee.  If done right, the resulting mixture is equal parts sweet and bold.  My nose was telling me that we were well on our way.  The eggs were incorporated and the egg whites were whipped to beautiful, satiny stiff peaks.  The mousse was complete and the first bake was in progress.  A short time later, we left the cake to cool on a wire rack while we headed outside.

After my time supervising the snow bunnies, I was back at my post to finish the mousse cake.  I spread the mousse onto its base and marveled at its beauty.  All that was left to do was to dust it with powdered sugar and put my fork to good use.   It would be tough duty, but I was pretty sure that I was up to the challenge.

The cake was a delicious treat on a snowy, Winter day.  It was dense and fudgy with just a hint of the coffee flavor.  It was, in case you were wondering, delicious with a great cup of coffee.  Too much coffee for you?  Not for me.  In my world, there can never be enough coffee.  I love great coffee and look for any excuse to drink it.  Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake seems like the perfect excuse to do so.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/01/michel-rostangs-double-chocolate-mousse-cake/

Gnocchi a la Parisienne


Reader, it’s no secret that I love French Fridays.  Bistro night is a tradition at 1840 Farm that makes my whole family smile.  We try to have at least one night a week that would make Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Dorie Greenspan proud.

This last week has been a banner one.  We’ve had Paris Mushroom Soup followed by our own concoction of pan roasted garlic-rosemary potatoes with Gruyère omelets.  Then we ended the seven-day span with Gnocchi a la Parisienne.  Talk about saving the best for last.

I find myself at a loss for words when trying to describe these gnocchi to you.  The best I can do is to say that they are light, airy, delicious bits of gnocchi heaven.  I admit that I was skeptical about boiling pate a choux dough.  I couldn’t fathom what their texture would be like.  I was worried that they would be water-logged and soggy  blobs of dough.  I was concerned that I might question my judgment for turning beautiful homemade pate a choux into the soggy blobs instead of making eclairs or gougeres.

There was no need for me to worry.  I will admit that I tasted a gnocchi as it exited the boiling pot to make sure that my family wouldn’t be sorry that I wasn’t making our standby sweet potato gnocchi for Bistro Night.  As soon as the gnocchi hit my tongue I knew that we would soon be considering this new gnocchi variety our standby.

This gnocchi was everything that I would believe that a gnocchi dreams to be.  It was light and fluffy with a lustrous texture and the rich flavor that a pate a choux dough imparts on its recipes.  Suddenly I was salivating at the thought of these gnocchi baked in the oven under a lovely blanket of fresh Bechamel and Gruyère cheese.

We served our gnocchi with fresh baby peas dressed with sea salt and a lovely bottle of Poggio Amorelli Gode II Rosso di Toscana 2007.  They were sublime.  The brightness of the peas was a perfect accompaniment to the rich gnocchi.  We agreed as a family that the baby peas would always find their way onto our dinner plates when we were lucky enough to find Gnocchi a la Parisienne on them.

Before the last bite had been taken, we were making plans to make this dish again.  It was sublime.  It was delicious.  It was one of my top five meals of all time.  No joke.  If I had ever been lucky enough to eat this dish at a restaurant, I might have refused to leave.  Ever.

Thank you Dorie for another fantastic recipe.  For those of you that don’t already have Dorie’s latest book,  Around My French Table, I’m sorry that I am not allowed to share the recipe with you.  I do, however have one sage piece of Bistro Night advice for you.  Get thyself to a local library or book store.  Immediately if not sooner.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/01/gnocchi-a-la-parisienne/

Paris Mushroom Soup

 

Hooray – it’s finally Bistro Night courtesy of French Fridays with Dorie here at 1840 Farm again.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed all of the Friday holiday celebrations during the last month, but I missed our Friday night Bistro Night.  I was happy to see it return.

When my family asks “What’s for dinner?”, I know that I will give them something to smile about when I answer that it’s Bistro Night.  Today was no exception.  We had all been looking forward to the first French Friday recipe of the New Year.  We were far from upset when Paris Mushroom Soup was announced as the first recipe of 2011.

Mushrooms are a popular ingredient here.  They are featured prominently in risotto, pizza, pasta, and our vegetable Hachis Parmentier.  If they were a garden crop, they would certainly find their way into our already crowded rows of vegetables.  Instead, we do the unthinkable and buy all of our mushrooms at the grocery store.  Mushrooms are one of the few vegetables that I can honestly say always find their way to our refrigerator via the grocery store.  We don’t see any at the local farmer’s markets and haven’t yet tried to propagate them on our property.  Oh well, there’s always next year.

So, on to the recipe at hand.  Paris Mushroom Soup.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never eaten it or prepared it.  The accompanying photo in Around My French Table was of prepped mushrooms rather than the finished dish, so it didn’t give me any clues as to what my dinner bowl would look like.  The recipe is really quite interesting.  A raw, herbed mushroom “salad” is placed in each soup bowl and then the hot mushroom soup is ladled over it.  I was intrigued by the combination.

The soup was simple to make.  I didn’t expect any different.  I’ve cooked many of Dorie Greenspan’s recipes and have never found her instructions difficult to follow.  She always seems to provide an excellent road map to any dish whether it is quite simple or extremely complex.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy cooking from her recipes so much.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my daughter enjoys Dorie’s recipes as much as I do, which means that she is normally by my side as I’m making them.

My daughter and I made quick work of the recipe.  The whole dish came together in about 45 minutes.  Between the soup bubbling away in the Dutch oven and the fresh loaf of french bread in the oven, the kitchen smelled divine.  We couldn’t wait to see and taste the final result.  Luckily, it was time to finish the soup with the immersion blender.  As soon as we did, I had my own mental image of what Paris Mushroom Soup was supposed to look like.

The table was set and dinner was ready.  All that was left for Bistro Night was the eating.    We had high expectations for this soup.  We were not disappointed.  It was a rich, delicious mixture that perfectly blended the freshness of raw mushrooms with the earthiness of sauteed mushrooms.  If I hadn’t made it myself, I wouldn’t have believed that it didn’t rely on heavy cream to deliver such a velvety smooth texture.  I looked around our farmhouse table and saw happy, contented faces.  They stayed that way until we all realized that the soup was gone.  We made immediate plans to make it again very soon.  A true sign of a great recipe.

Next week, we’ll be enjoying Gnocchi a la Parisienne on Bistro Night here at 1840 Farm.  We love gnocchi, so I’m sure that we will again gather to dine together at the table and enjoy every last bite.  Maybe that’s why Bistro Night is so popular here.  Good food.  Good wine.  Good time spent together as a family in the kitchen and at the table.  The fabulous French food is merely a bonus.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/01/paris-mushroom-soup/

French Fridays with Dorie-Hachis Parmentier

Okay, until just now, I felt like I was a pretty well-read food lover.  Then I read that this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was Hachis Parmentier.  Gesundheit?  I had never heard of this mystery dish.  What strange concoction could it be?

Turns out, it is simply a rustic, French style shepherd’s pie or cottage pie.  Okay, I like shepherd’s pie.  Dorie’s recipe called for one pound of beef and another half pound of sausage to make the filling.  Herein lies my problem.  I don’t eat much meat and a “meat pie” didn’t exactly call to me.  However, I make a vegetarian shepherd’s pie that my family loves.  So, I sat down with Dorie’s recipe in one hand and my recipe in the other and set about combining the two into a completely new dish. In the end, I substituted root vegetables for the beef and mushrooms for the sausage.

The recipe was somewhat time-consuming.  It required several hours of cooking, but some of the steps could be done ahead of time.  Dorie includes information regarding this in the sidebar of the recipe information.  While time-consuming, this recipe was simple to assemble.  It did not require fancy skills or cookware.  If you can use a knife and an oven, you’ll have no trouble producing a beautiful dish.

Dinner was delicious.  This was one of those meals that made the day’s cold, damp weather seem a little less oppressive.  My family wasn’t ready to throw out our old version of shepherd’s pie quite yet, but I can see that this version will be put into the fall and winter dinner rotation.  With any luck, I’ll keep working on my version until it surpasses our old shepherd’s pie recipe.  It will be tough duty, but I’m willing to take one for the team.

I have to admit that at first, I felt guilty about making any changes to Dorie’s recipe as it appears in Around My French Table.  Then I thought about Hachis Parmentier and it’s simpler named shepherd’s pie.  They are peasant dishes meant to be made with what was on hand-a clever way to use leftovers that were insufficient to feed the family on their own.  With a little kitchen moxie, you could turn the leftovers into a deliciously hearty filling and then by adding potatoes, produce a meal hearty enough to nourish your family.

It’s a bit of a magic trick.  Take something that can’t be called a meal, add a few ingredients that you have in the root cellar and produce a gourmet feast.  I took a deep breath and realized that was exactly what I had done.  True, I had gone about making Hachis Parmentier in a slightly different way than she may have intended, but I don’t think that Dorie would mind.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/10/french-fridays-with-dorie-hachis-parmentier/

French Fridays-Gougeres

Welcome to French Fridays with Dorie at 1840 Farm.  I’m not usually a person who looks to join this kind of thing.  Really, I’m not.  However, this group involves cooking, reading, eating French food, and blogging.  I felt that an exception had to be made.

And then there’s the fact that Dorie Greenspan is involved.  I don’t own dozens of her cookbooks.  I know her more as a friend of a friend.  Well, that may be an enormous stretch.  Julia Child was definitely her friend.  I’m one of the millions of people who watched Julia on television and wished that she was my friend.  True, it is a marked difference, but at least I know that.

As a child, my experience with Julia was strictly her.  She was on television, usually alone, teaching me to love the experience even if the end result didn’t turn out exactly as I had expected.  She taught me that it was okay to mold a failed omelette back into shape and hold my head high.  As an adult, Julia was on camera with other great chefs and bakers.  Julia was in print with cookbook authors.

Enter Dorie into my life.  Where Julia was, Dorie was sure to follow.  I didn’t just purchase Baking with Julia, I put it on display in my farmhouse kitchen the way some people display fine art.  To me, it was.  I read Dorie’s carefully written recipes as if they were chapters from a great novel.  I chose the recipes I wanted to try and followed her as my guide.  I began to realize that although Julia was gone, Dorie was here.

 

I also knew that my daughter would love cooking the recipes along with me.  It somehow seemed right that if I learned by watching Julia, my daughter could learn by reading Dorie’s cookbook.  So, today we set out to make the first recipe from the series French Fridays with Dorie.

Gougeres.  A food so delicious that it deserves to be its own complete sentence.  If you don’t agree, then may I recommend that you run to your local bookstore or public library and put a copy of Around My French Table into your hands immediately.  Go ahead, make them and tell me that you still disagree.

The recipe was easy to follow.  If I had left my daughter in the kitchen too long, I might have come back in to find them ready to go in the oven.   They infused the whole kitchen with a wonderful aroma and the resulting gougeres were absolutely delicious.  Dorie mentions that they can be frozen and baked directly from a frozen state.  I’m busy dreaming up ways to make more room in the freezer.  They’re that good.  This winter, they will pair beautifully with soups and vegetable dishes.  I won’t lie, they’ll also pair beautifully with that glass of red wine that always seems to be poured a little early on Sunday afternoon while dinner is in the works.

Tonight, the gougeres were served with fresh herb baked eggs and a spinach salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.  We poured a delicious 2007  A to Z Pinot Noir.  The combination was other worldly.  Tonight’s dinner would be enough to cement Dorie’s place in our cookbook collection.  If I hadn’t already been a fan, I would have easily become one of the card-carrying variety.

At the end of our meal, my daughter had a look of pure happiness on her face.  She was proud of her work.  She was happy that we all enjoyed the gougeres so much.  She proclaimed that, “We should have this for dinner more often!”  I couldn’t have hoped for more.   A great meal, a happy child, and the thought that some day, years from now, I will walk into her kitchen.  I’ll smell gougeres baking and that same look of pure happiness and pride will appear on my face.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/10/french-fridays-gougeres/